Author Topic: My wife wants to buy a new SUV. And I know it's not very mustachian.  (Read 1694 times)

Danthemustachian

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 Hi all,

This is my first post. My wife owns and drives a nice 2013 Chevy equinox, and she recently expressed very serious interest in buying a new 2018 Chevy traverse or Honda pilot. 

Her car has 80k miles on it, and I want to keep it until it is no longer reliable. She wants the nice new car and feels that she deserves it. She thinks I am too practical, and she thinks we shouldn't be so frugal since we can afford the new car and she feels it will make her happier (it doesn't help that all her friends have nice new cars).

She just finished paying it off. I looked at the trade in value and its a measly $7500-8500.  And the new car she wants is around $33,000.  Just a complete waste of money, buying new.

I understand the benefits of buying used, and I would never buy new. How do I convince my wife?!

I already tried explaining that by saving now and being smart with our money, eventually we can buy a rental property and begin investing in real estate. Then we can build wealth and not worry about money later in life.

Any advice on framing the argument better would be much appreciated!

Thank you, fellow mustachians.

Brilliantine

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yourusernamehere

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My wife wants to buy a new SUV. And I know it's not very mustachian.
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2018, 06:30:23 PM »
Maybe this fantastic write up from laura33 will help

link=topic=89242.msg1935786#msg1935786 date=1521214012

ETA: I couldn’t figure out how to insert the actual link, but you can find it cross-posted in the thread about the best quotes from the forum- that’s a treasure trove in itself.

OK, I am laughing here.  First:  I feel you.  22 years married to Mr. Spendypants.  It was sort of thrilling at first, in that "breaking the rules" way, but the enticement fades, and over time it starts to grate.

So my advice:  give up the battle, focus on winning the war.  IME, people who make a shit-ton of money through their own hard work are very, very averse to having others tell them how they are allowed to spend said money.  Even better:  suggesting that they are stupid, illogical, or wrong for wanting to spend that money is the best way to force them to double down on their position.  I think you get this logically but don't know how to approach it in any other way.*  So here are some initial thoughts.**

1.  Most important:  give up any concept that you are "right"/"smart"/"logical" -- because when you say things that imply that, what she hears is "you, DW, are wrong/stupid/illogical."  There is no conversation in the history of the world that has ever gone well after that kind of opener.  Do not tell her what she "should" do; treat her like an equal, fully-fledged human being whose needs and wants and goals and dreams are just as important as your own.  The woman works hard and makes almost six figures; she can buy a damn SUV if she wants one.***  The thing is, Mustachianism is a pretty extreme concept in our current society.  Not everyone is willing to give up certain luxuries to retire in 10 years, or even 20 or 30.  Those people are not "wrong."  They just have different dreams and goals than you do.  And when you happen to be married to those people, you need to figure out a path that serves both of you.  FIRE is a lonely place if you wind up there all alone because your DW had a different dream that you expected her to give up so you could chase yours.

2.  So, once you start from the standpoint of assuming that she has the right to make her own decision here, no matter how stupid you think it is, your next step is to speak her language.  You speak spreadsheet; she speaks feelings.  Ok, that's fine.  But which one of you is trying to persuade the other to do or change something?  That would be you.  Therefore, it's your job to learn to talk feelings.  You do this by, first and foremost, listening.  Why does she want the SUV?  She has given you a lot of reasons, and you have responded by telling her that those reasons are stupid or are less important than your concerns.  Again:  not going to go well.  You need to hear and validate her feelings, even if you do not agree with the solution that she has chosen to satisfy those concerns.  And frankly, she has given you some pretty reasonable reasons for wanting a larger car -- the ability to carry more stuff, thinking ahead to having kids, not feeling so vulnerable on the highway.  Those are legitimate issues to be concerned about, and you need to let her know that you get that and you want her to get a car that suits her needs.  [It just doesn't need to be a giant SUV]

3.  Only after you have done this can you move to the art of subtle persuasion.  But again, you do this with questions and suggestions that let her find out for herself.  E.g., "Yes, your safety is my very top concern, I worry about you on the road, I want you in a vehicle that is going to keep you safe from those crazy drivers and be completely reliable.  Why don't we do some research into which vehicles are the safest out there right now?" [Hint:  it's usually not giant SUVs).  And then you guys do the research and she finds out for herself what the facts really are.  And -- here's the thing -- you approach the conversation based solely on how the results satisfy her stated goals, e.g., "gee, I'm a little worried about this giant SUV, its crash ratings aren't as good as the Civic -- and look, these cars over here all have "+" ratings -- oh, it's the crash-avoidance systems, boy, now that seems like a really safe thing to have, right?"  Etc. 

4.  Only after you have done all of the above can you then mention your concerns -- by this point, you will have identified a pretty wide swath of vehicles that will satisfy her concerns, and so you can subtly push to choose between them based on cost of ownership -- e.g., "wow, you know, those prices have really gone up since we got our last car!  I'm worried that spending that amount of money will interfere with our plans to [insert something she likes -- vacation, eating out whatever].  Why don't we look for one that is a couple of years used that still has all those great features?"  Important note:  you need to phrase your own concerns in her language, too -- you are "afraid," or "worried," or whatever other emotion fits.  Again:  your goal is to translate everything you are thinking into language she can understand.  Because she loves you, and she wants you to be happy too, and if she understands that your concerns are founded in fear and worry for your joint future (and not just "I'm right and you're dumb"), she will absolutely meet you halfway.  So at this point you can sit down with the budget with her and talk about where you are going to take the extra money from to pay for X or Y car, and let her choose what the tradeoff is -- fewer dinners out?  Staycation?  Etc.

So that is the car conversation (or more accurately, series of conversations).  But the bigger-picture is if you want to avoid ongoing money disputes, you need to work to bring her onboard with that goal.  Start with the "50 ways to convert your SO" sticky for a ton of ideas.  But even beyond that, crack open a bottle of wine and talk about your hopes and dreams.  What is her vision of your future life together?  What does she want?  Does she love her job and never wants to leave it?  Or will she or you want the option to kick back to part-time or SAH if and when you have kids?  Or is she willing to put the nose to the grindstone for the next 10 years if she knows that will allow her to not work ever again?  You need to know what her dreams and goals are, and why -- why does she want to do what she wants to do?  What does that mean to her?  And you need to talk openly about your own as well -- why do you want to FIRE?  Is it just freedom from a miserable job?  Do you have the dream of running your own business?  Do you want to stay home with kids?  What is the dream you are working towards?  Once you guys understand each other's dreams, then you are in a position to develop a plan that gets both of you as much of what you want as you can.  And yeah, it will be a compromise.  But keep talking, keep using the 50 steps; if you make her life with you both frugal and fun, she will start to understand over time that you don't need to throw money at things to enjoy yourself.

Like I said above, I am 22 years into this, and it has been a struggle.  My DH makes a lot of money, we have always maxed out retirement and saved some in addition, and he just sees absolutely no reason why he shouldn't blow the rest.  Just one example of oh-so-many:  he eats out for lunch.  Every day.  Always has.  And worse:  he likes to treat his friends -- and the more money he made, the more he likes to treat them.  And then one day he finally told me:  he likes to eat out because it is a physical break from his day to walk out of the office and go somewhere completely different.  And he likes to treat his friends because it makes him feel successful that he can afford to do that -- just like he likes to go to the mall and get name-brand sunglasses, because it makes him feel powerful and successful knowing he has the money to do that.  Oh.  OK.  So then I had a choice:  do I continue to argue over something that he has just told me is very important to him because it satisfies a pretty important emotional need?  Or do I accept that that is important to him, even though I personally think it's a stupid waste of money, and figure out a way to meet him in the middle?  I did the latter, which is probably why we are still married.

But I kept working on it.  Every year, I would redirect any raise directly into Vanguard.  We get a lot of our pay at the end of the year, so I set up monthly withdrawals so our bank account balance went down over the course of the year, so we "felt" poorer than we really were and then needed to put more of the end-of-year money in the bank instead of blowing it somewhere else.  I talked to him about maybe retiring at 55 or so, and we'd go out to dinner and dream about traveling the world (we do both love our jobs, so immediate FIRE was never a goal for either of us, but we both liked the idea of calling it quits before 65-70) -- and then when he'd say something like "we can do that at 55," I'd laugh and show him the numbers of how much more we'd actually need to save to do that.  And of course over time, he also got a little more dissatisfied with working all the time. 

I'm not going to give you some happy ending where he was converted and we're on a sailboat now -- in the end, we are both still working, and our target FIRE date is closer to @58-59 than 55.  I think we could FIRE now if we trim the lifestyle, he thinks we need a lot more, so we have met in the middle -- and now Mr. Spreadsheet is spending a LOT of time going over the spreadsheets and figuring out alternatives and dates and such (I already got him down from 13 to 8, and I'm hoping to knock another year or so off that, we'll see).  Meanwhile, he has given me the ok to go part-time or take a lower-paying job any time I want to; I haven't yet (I'd rather work more now and go zero-time sooner, because I want to travel), but I feel a lot happier with the job knowing I have the freedom to if I decide I want to.  And the important thing is that we are both happy with the solution -- he is forsaking some of the luxury he would otherwise have gone for, I am working longer, but both of us are getting enough of what we need out of the deal that we're content with it.

But none of that would have happened if he hadn't gotten over his idea that I was "stupid" for wanting to save a lot and come in under budget every month.****  ;-)

*As an aside, emotions are logical, too -- it is pretty easy to predict how people will react to certain situations if you know the rules of "people management."  You just don't know those rules.  I would encourage you to try.  Start with thinking of animal training -- specifically, people, like animals, are motivated more by praise and rewards than by punishment.

**Many, many, many initial thoughts.  22 years of them.  Sorry.

***To clarify:  I completely agree with you that that choice is massively stupid.  But you have to approach her with this understanding as a fundamental underpinning to every conversation.

****And FWIW, he thinks he's the logical, non-emotional one in our relationship.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 06:34:04 PM by yourusernamehere »

Slow2FIRE

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My wife and I came to an agreement on this.

It helps that we are willing to drive similar vehicles (smaller, fuel efficient vehicles).

She gets a new car every 6-7 years and I will sell my 12-14 year old car and get her used car.  I then know the exact history of my 6-7 year old car and she gets the new car she desires while I can feel like we are getting our "money's worth" out of her vehicles.

Does this delay our retirement?  Absolutely.
Does this keep the peace and allow me to suggest smaller sized homes than what she really wants?  Absolutely.

I really want to convert her to purchasing a gently used car if they come at a good deal next time we need to get her she wants a replacement car.

Disclaimer:  We earn $250K+ as a household and buy new cars that are around $26K or less so it isn't a huge hit for us to buy the new car every 6-7 years.

marty998

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Hi all,

This is my first post. My wife owns and drives a nice 2013 Chevy equinox, and she recently expressed very serious interest in buying a new 2018 Chevy traverse or Honda pilot. 

Her car has 80k miles on it, and I want to keep it until it is no longer reliable. She wants the nice new car and feels that she deserves it. She thinks I am too practical, and she thinks we shouldn't be so frugal since we can afford the new car and she feels it will make her happier (it doesn't help that all her friends have nice new cars).

She just finished paying it off. I looked at the trade in value and its a measly $7500-8500.  And the new car she wants is around $33,000.  Just a complete waste of money, buying new.

I understand the benefits of buying used, and I would never buy new. How do I convince my wife?!

I already tried explaining that by saving now and being smart with our money, eventually we can buy a rental property and begin investing in real estate. Then we can build wealth and not worry about money later in life.

Any advice on framing the argument better would be much appreciated!

Thank you, fellow mustachians.

Oh mate, you are fucked.

Commiserations :(

Just try and save the extra $7k per year to cover her crack car habit every 5 years.

Or invest enough so your investments throw off the amount needed to cover the new monster truck she needs.

CanuckExpat

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she thinks we shouldn't be so frugal since we can afford the new car and she feels it will make her happier (it doesn't help that all her friends have nice new cars).

May not help directly, but some background reading (for her or you)

Is it Convenient? Would I Enjoy it? Wrong Question.
How much of your life are you selling off?
Top 10 Cars for Smart People
The Top 4 SUVs for Growing Families

startingsmall

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Just went through that with my husband. At least his truck was 10 years old and had about 160k miles on it, so maybe it isn't quite as bad as your situation.... but it was still pretty painful to cave in and let him get a brand-new Toyota Tacoma.

His dad bought a brand new Silverado the same week, so he just had to get a new truck of his own. I understand the peer pressure.

So, anyway, no helpful advice here. Good luck. I caved because I know that, in the long run, a Tacoma is cheaper than a divorce... and he's a great guy, aside from our differing attitudes towards finances, so I have to compromise. (He bought a 2017 instead of a 2018, he allowed himself to be talked out of 4WD, he bought the base model, etc.) I still get a little bit irritated every time I look at that truck in our driveway, though.